Clinton or Sanders? READ THE COMMENT POLICY BEFORE COMMENTING

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I want to have a conversation, and I’m putting very strict limits on it. If you can’t abide by these limits, please don’t participate. If you violate these boundaries, I will block you or put you into comment moderation, possibly without being given a second chance (at my discretion).

I want to hear your case for Clinton over Sanders, or for Sanders over Clinton. If you’re on the fence, I want to hear why. More about election specifics in a moment: here are the discussion parameters. READ THEM CAREFULLY.

I only want to hear from people who accept that this is not an obvious choice, or at the very least understand and respect why some people would make a different choice. I want the conversation to remain civil, with absolutely no name-calling or personal attacks aimed at the candidates or the other people in the conversation. I’m even going to ask people to dial back on invective and heated rhetoric aimed at ideas and behavior: usually I’m okay with that, but here I’m not. I want a civil, calm conversation, based on the assumption of good faith. And this should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I do not want to hear even a whiff of sexism or misogyny aimed at Clinton. If you so much as use her first name while using Sanders’ last, you’re out of the conversation.

And I specifically want to hear your thoughts about which candidate would be a better President and why. I don’t want to hear arguments based on electability. I’ve seen convincing arguments that both candidates are more electable, based on current polling, who’s traditionally likely to vote, which demographics each candidate is likely to bring to the polls, etc. I have my own thoughts on that subject, but it’s not what I want to discuss here. And I don’t want to hear arguments based on either candidate’s followers being jerks. That’s happening on both sides, and unless you can make a REALLY convincing case that this is relevant to which candidate would make a better President, leave it. I want to know which candidate you think would make a better President.

Here’s my current state of mind. I did that “I Side With” quiz to see which candidate agreed with me on more of the issues. I got 98% agreement with Sanders — and 95% agreement with Clinton. That difference is insignificant. Even if there had been a significant difference, stated positions on issues aren’t the only thing that matters (although of course they’re hugely important). A candidate’s history also matters: are they likely to go back on their word, are they effective at building coalitions, do they listen to criticism and respond well to it, are they in bed with corporate interests, and so on. And of course, not all issues show up on this quiz or others like it; this quiz skews more towards platform positions than voting records; and while it allows you to weight which issues are more important to you, it doesn’t allow you to say “Dealbreaker.”

The most persuasive big-picture argument I’ve seen for Sanders: he’s the only candidate who could potentially change the system. Clinton is on the liberal side of moderate, a business as usual candidate — and the business is broken. The political and economic system in the United States is rotten to the core, it needs radical change, and Clinton will not make that happen.

The most persuasive big-picture argument I’ve seen for Clinton: Sanders is not good at management, compromise, organization, or getting along with people generally. If Sanders is elected, he’ll be a bad President and will be unable to effect the changes he’s promising.

So — make your case. Again, SEE THE COMMENT POLICY ABOVE, and if you can’t abide by it, please stay out of the conversation. Thanks!

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Greta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

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70 thoughts on “Clinton or Sanders? READ THE COMMENT POLICY BEFORE COMMENTING

  1. 1

    Well, with the proviso that my opinion doesn’t matter since I dint have a vote… The two things that weigh against Clinton for me are the “business-as-usual” issue you’ve identified, and the Iraq war. I’m not sure that the argument that Sanders won’t be able to get things done carries much weight, since the Republicans won’t give an inch to Clinton either. The only reason she might fare better is that she’s less likely to try and make significant changes.

  2. 2

    My argument for Clinton over Sanders goes a bit further. I don’t know that Sanders can’t do what needs doing to move political power to the left in this country, but I see him refusing to do obvious things that would make a difference. Watching him, I feel like I’m watching all those white, male atheist leaders who took the kudos for saying harassment was wrong several years ago, then refused to take the actions that would decrease it. Thoughts on the primary election at length here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2016/02/10/bernie-sanders-and-revolution-betrayed/

  3. 3

    I’m more of a Bernie supporter than Clinton simply because he better represents my interests. Like you, Clinton comes in at a close second — but still second. One way that Clinton differs drastically from Sanders is in foreign policy where she’s to the right of some moderate Republicans. Since I’m not a single-issue voter this isn’t enough to make me condemn her, but it does mean she isn’t my first choice for candidate.

    There’s no guarantee that my first choice for candidate will get the nomination. That’s life. If it turns out that Sanders can’t get the delegates to win the nomination then I will cheerfully throw my support behind Clinton. I know there’s a lot of sentiment that if Clinton wins they’ll either vote Republican, third party or stay home. For such people I like to remind them that best should not be the enemy of good.

  4. 4

    I’ll vote for whichever one wins the nomination, and I’m largely indifferent, but my vote will probably end up with Bernie because I’m a big fan of single-payer healthcare, and also because I like that he opposed DOMA. Granted, I dislike his reasons for doing it, but in this case I care more about actions over intent.

  5. 5

    Can anyone honestly say that Hillary is an honest person trying honestly to do good? Her foundation takes Millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia while she is overseeing arms deals to them. Weapons that were used to murder thousands of men, women and children. She takes so much money from the banks in so many different ways that its hard to even quantify it.

    While I do not want to blame her for her husband’s actions she has used her power to destroy women who were telling the truth and she knew when she was doing it that they were telling the truth.

    All that aside, even if she didn’t have an expansive history of corruption and was a perfect little angel, she still represents the status quo business as usual and it is simply unacceptable.

    Lastly whether you disagree with what bernie says or does or doesn’t do, he has always been honest. Can you say that of Hillary?

  6. 6

    First, when it comes to the general election I am going to happily vote for whoever wins, not against whichever republican wins, but for which ever democrat wins. I am comfortable sending either one to the white house. I don’t know who would make a better president, but I know that I am sick and tired of the economic and political system that we have. I am going to vote for Sanders because I think his message represents less of the economic status quo while Clinton, to me, very much represents the economic and political status quo. Given that I would be happy with either in the White House the message I would like to send with my vote is that I don’t want to support more of the same.

  7. 7

    I’m gonna C&P what I said on Facebook…
    I’m voting for Clinton after registering as a Democrat for the first time in 2008 to vote against her in the primary. Not only do I think her resume has been improved by her time as Secretary of State under Obama, but I have come to regret a lot of the stances I took 8 years ago against her. I bought into some fairly sexist stereotypes about the then Senator that I wish we could all take back. I think her actual record as a Senator and Secretary of State pushes her well beyond the mark for being qualified for the job of President. She might be the most qualified person to run for the office in my lifetime.
    Besides that, i find after doing a lot of reading about her that I simply agree with her political strategy more than I thought I would. Doug Muder at the Weekly Sift (http://weeklysift.com/2015/07/27/the-2016-stump-speeches-hillary-clinton/) did a great deep dive into her political character at the beginning of the campaign. And Melissa at Shakesville has really opened my eyes as to how deeply sexist many of the criticisms of Hillary Clinton are and continue to be. Including the misguided notion that it was necessary for Bernie Sanders to “pull” her to the left, when in fact her liberal credentials are well established if you peel back the coating of bullshit narrative that has built up over her 30 years in the limelight.
    As for Sanders. I want to like the guy, but I’m actually pretty appalled by the way he has handled his campaign, how he has addressed criticism of his plans and I’m deeply suspect of his ability to be an effective executive.

  8. 8

    As for Sanders. I want to like the guy, but I’m actually pretty appalled by the way he has handled his campaign, how he has addressed criticism of his plans and I’m deeply suspect of his ability to be an effective executive.

    Could you be more specific? I only ask because I have seen this line verbatim from others and yet I never get a satisfactory answer when I ask what they are talking about.

  9. 9

    I think the Democratic ticket this year is a wealth of riches and that there isn’t a wrong choice. It comes down to whether you value the international arena more than the domestic one.

    One assumption I make is that neither candidate will be able to get things done in the first 2 years of their presidency. The GOP currently control congress, that is unlikely to change with either candidate in this election cycle (although the GOP could blow that up on their own..). I do not think the GOP will compromise with Clinton. I do not think they will compromise with Sanders. Our candidate’s willingness and ability to compromise is totally irrelevant until the nature of Congress changes.

    The thing we’ll get – with either of them – is the preservation and possible extension of the Obama-era executive orders, the veto, and the ability to nominate at least one Justice.

    The President only has two other things that they can do.

    1) use the bully pulpit. They can speak out, try to affect public opinion with the giant media bullhorn that comes with the
    office.

    2) International affairs. They can negotiate with other countries, and represent us on the world stage.

    I think Sanders would be better at the first, and Clinton better at the second. Neither would be a disaster at the part they aren’t the best at, though. I don’t think the answer is clear, but I’ll support either after the Primary with enthusiasm!

  10. 10

    To begin with, I’m not an American, so my vote as such doesn’t exist.

    While I do have worries regarding Sanders’ weakness on foreign policy, and how much he could fulfil some of his economic policy, I feel ultimately that he would be a lot better for the position, though he is somewhat less of a known quantity in terms of action. His position seems a lot closer to genuinely progressive, which can be compared to Clinton’s history.

    While the sexism Clinton’s faced has been absolutely intense and indefensible, I feel like some of the actually genuinely horrible things she’s done are given a pass in a way to compensate. I mean, this is the person who called young Black men “super-predators”. Clinton’s support of corporations over workers, support of the drug war and mass incarceration, and of war makes it very hard for me to see her feminism as for any women who aren’t well-off, white, and American.

  11. 11

    Sanders weakness on foreign policy is a distraction, if you believe presidents don’t get dozens of highly knowledgeable people to educate him on the minutiae of policy and international laws you are mistaken. The only thing that matters when it comes to foreign policy is judgement and we already know his is better than Clinton’s.

  12. 12

    I took the “I Side With” questionairre and found it quite useful. I came out 96% for Sanders, 96% for Clinton. Which is pretty spot on. My gut feeling is that, in the primaries, I will most likely vote for Sanders but would have no heartburn voting for Clinton. In the Presidential election, either one of them would get my vote over anyone the GOP puts up.

    Which I guess is shallow, but I come down pretty damn close with both candidates. And I am pissed at supporters of both who insist that if their candidate does not get the nomination they will not vote. Neither is perfect. Either is infinitely better than anyone the GOP is offering up.

  13. 13

    I expect to vote for Sanders in the Primary. If Clinton wins the nomination I will vote for her. I WILL vote, be sure of that.

    I think my preference for Sanders has a lot to do with the radical nature of his positions. I’m not a radical by nature (I think), but I’ve become more that way with time. Part of his appeal for me (mind you, I’ve not made much foray into Clinton’s positions) may be my feeling that a sharp jolt to the left is needed combined with his appeal for the long term commitment by the electorate to change public institutions because a president can’t do it alone. Some of it may be that as a grumpy old man I relate to a grumpy old man.

    I do look askance at Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. I am leery of political dynasties. I doubt her willingness to go in radical directions without a big push.

    My thinking does look one-sided, I admit, but I’m wide open to new information. If Clinton does take the nomination I expect she will have had to make promises much more in line with my thinking to get there. I don’t expect any candidate to keep ALL promises, but I know, in general, they will try.

  14. 14

    To me it’s about electability over everything, because whoever gets the nom – if elected – is definitely going to be a lame duck with similar issues to Obama in getting anything done, and because either would be a trillion times better than Trump. A tory sucks but is unquestionably better than a nazi.

    And because it’s about electability, I am on the fence. But I lean Sanders, because misogyny and the brutal propaganda against Clinton are still deeply enmeshed in our society. Then again, people are still kneejerk reactionary about anything vaguely pinko. The thing about that is that it’s easier to argue past prejudice with something as abstract as politics than with something as primal as misogyny.

    That’s my feeling and I’ve been right in the last two democratic primary contests – I thought Kerry had an unelectable personality, and thought Obama was far more electable than Clinton. If we had someone as telegenic as Obama in the options, it wouldn’t even be a contest in my mind.

  15. 15

    I have a similar approach to besomyka and very much agree with that line of thinking. What a president can actually DO matters a lot. In short, I could possibly be persuaded to vote for Bernie as a king, but we’re not, so I’m definitely more convinced that Hillary would be the better President.

    While both campaigns cater their language to suit the false impression the public has that whatever a president wants to do, a president gets to do, Hillary has detail in her proposals that indicate a clear understanding of the reality of what it takes to achieve their implementation. When Bernie is asked, “What will the quantitative impacts of [plan] be on [measurable thing],” he doesn’t have any idea and answers with a repetition of his hopes and dreams instead. When Hillary is asked the same, she has and shares knowledge of real impacts with citations ready. Hillary is deliberate, analytical, and thoroughly prepared in everything she does.

    Both Bernie and Hillary would, as President, pull the Democrats in congress to the left with their influence and leadership, but I’m convinced Hillary would be able to do so more effectively with the political acumen she has. She and Bernie share practically all ideologies, but there are Democrats in congress that aren’t swayed by rhetoric alone, and Hillary is the one with the chops to substantively educate representatives on details, logical reasons, quantitative impacts, connections to other policies, global context, and strategy.

    Perhaps those who say that nothing major, legislatively, would be accomplished by either Hillary or Bernie in their first two years as President are right (it would be rather miraculous), but to think beyond that, I find Hillary’s proposals could have a very strong chance of success in years 3 and 4 while Bernie’s proposals would remain untenable.

  16. 16

    I understand your being angry at those who will not vote for Hillary no matter what, I was with you until this campaign just a couple months ago I was just like you in that regard. But simply reading about the sheer amount of corruption under Hillarys belt. Watching her cheer for billions dollars of weapons sold to Saudi Arabia broke me. The simply fact that we call Saudi Arabia and “ally” turns my stomach. I can’t vote for the “lesser of two evils” anymore I simply can not do it. I won’t. I will write in sanders or vote green

    For those who would support Hillary I would ask you this, when (not if) when she starts another war that kills tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. Will you shrug and say its not your fault? Its not your responsibility? At what point do we get the blame for the things ours leader do? I’ll tell you when, it’s when you vote. When you vote you are responsible for the things that are coming. These things are predictable don’t try to pretend a vote for Hillary isn’t a vote for more endless war you are all too intelligent for that.

  17. 17

    Can anyone honestly say that Hillary is an honest person trying honestly to do good?… even if she didn’t have an expansive history of corruption and was a perfect little angel

    davidsmith @ #5: This is seriously pushing it as far as my clearly stated request to keep the conversation civil and free of invective and heated rhetoric. Dial it back or leave the conversation.

    To me it’s about electability over everything

    Great American Satan @ #14: I specifically said I didn’t want a conversation about electability. That’s a long conversation, and a worthwhile one, but it’s also a rabbit hole that can derail any other conversation about this election. Respect this limit or leave the conversation.

    Both of you have been good commenters here for a long time, so I’m giving you one chance. Read the comment policy for this post — all of it — and abide by it. If you can’t say what you have to say within those limits, please leave the conversation. Any further violations and I will either put you into comment moderation or block you. Thanks.

  18. 18

    davidsmith @ #16: See my comment above at #17. Dial back on the heated rhetoric against Clinton and the personal snark aimed at people who would vote for her. If you can’t do that and say what you have to say about Clinton, leave the conversation and go talk somewhere else. I am 100% serious.

  19. 19

    Dial back the heated Rhetoric? if I post video of her actually lying is it ok to call her a liar? It is a fact that she is not honest. Ban me if you like but I can prove she is not honest with her own words and deeds it is not controversial. Should I replace “not honest” with “less than truthful” or is the word deceptive a better word? I am ok with toning things down I realize I am a blunt and abrasive person, I am trying to improve that about myself it is difficult.

    I can not think of a way to discuss Hillary without discussing honesty or rather the lack thereof.

  20. 20

    Obama has been a tolerable conservative President. Clinton, I feel, will be more of the same.

    If it’s just a matter of ascending to the presidency shifting your views by a certain amount, Sanders will end up being more like Obama promised when running the first time. If it’s a matter of avoiding opposition enough to get at least some stuff through, Sanders will have more trouble. He’s further from the GOP and thus more scary. He’s probably a bit more liberal than the Democrats in Congress would prefer.

    Sanders has experience in both the Senate and the House of Representatives — about 22 years total. He’s been registered as Independent throughout, and as such, he’s likely been sidelined in bipartisan dealings. He’s also been something of a rabblerouser there. Clinton has actively networked in the Senate during her tenure — plus she’s been dealing with this level of politics through the eight years of her husband’s Presidency, the eight years of the Obama administration, and six or eight years as a Senator.

    If Sanders wins, I expect him to speak with the Democratic leaders in Congress and work out a general compromise on what they’d like to accomplish. He’ll have to make considerable concessions. I expect that to be a bit rough on the whole, which means they’ll have a less productive relationship than Clinton would have. However, if he’s elected, that would send a signal to the Democratic Party that they might want to be a bit more liberal. That will change their campaign strategy more than their voting habits, but it will affect voting habits a little.

    It’s kind of a question of long-term strategy versus short-term. Do you want what Bernie’s advertising in thirty years? Then vote for him. Are you willing to wait fifty years if it gets you a slightly nicer experience this decade? Then I’d go with Clinton.

    Either way, I’m voting for Stein.

  21. J B
    21

    I side with gives me 96% for Bernie, 90% for Hillary. And 95% for Jill Stein.
    I think the main pivot point for me as pointed out by the survey results is foreign vs domestic priorities.
    On a gut level, Sanders’ constant anti-Citizen’s-United is a big plus. Clinton seems very pro-Clinton, and status quo. Clinton (like Obama) strike me as a bit too right of center, would like to see a shift to the left (closer in line to the general population which polls center-left)

  22. 22

    I don’t have a vote in America, but if I did it would be for Bernie for the following reasons. Apologies if it is lengthy, I am not good at being concise!

    – One of the biggest problems facing American politics in my view is the outsize role huge money donors have in politics; reducing the extent to which a candidate must bow to the wishes of the rich will have a long term benefit on vast numbers of issues for many elections to come.

    – Income inequality and the self-perpetuating cycle of poverty is probably the most immediate concern for the largest number of Americans; boosting education is the biggest single step towards reducing this, and is a central plank in Bernie’s platform. On top of this, he is all about improving ‘safety net’ type services such as health care, and I don’t believe the meme that his efforts to improve in health insurance would put the recent ACA ‘Obamacare’ in jeapoardy, as he was one of its authors.

    – Speaking of which, a quick glance at the donors for the candidates is telling. Which candidate is better liked by the finance sector? Hillary. Which is better liked by labour unions? Bernie.

    – America’s transport infrastructure is in a ludicrous state of disrepair, and federal funding is currently only (or mostly) available for new projects, rather than maintaining what is present. I agree with this analysis of Bernie and Hillary’s respective plans – not only is Bernies plan more bold and more detailed, but also comes with another blow against the inequality in the form of recouping over $600 billion in corporate taxe evasion. Essentially, that money will be redistributed amongst a large number of construction / labour jobs, and is thus also a gain in employment.

    – Another huge matter, a crisis even, is the extent to which non-white people are trapped both by poverty and by discrimination. Hillary has perhaps come round to the BLM perspective lately, but Bernie was already there as early as the sixties.

    – In fact, on many progressive issues, Hillary strikes me as only adopting them as they become increasingly politically opportune whereas Bernie has been on the progressive side of most issues for decades.

    – Bernie has consistently been against American belligerence, Hillary ahs voted for every single one that has come before here and additionally helped sell the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ meme as justification for the Iraq invasion. Her defense on this in particular is riddled with inconsistencies and lies.

    – Bernie grew up in poverty. Hillary grew up in wealth. This may be an entirely idiosyncratic criterion of mine, but I think this is part of why Bernie ‘gets it’. He knows from experience.

    – A weak point of Bernie’s that I have seen is that he has been less anti-firearm than Hillary. I agree that that is a weakness – America most certainly needs more regulation of gun ownership.

    – It has also been claimed that Bernie’s plans are so ambitious that they will never pass Republican congressional opposition. Is disregard this for two reasons: 1) doing less simply because it has a better chance of passing congress means aiming lower, and 2) they hate Hillary as well, she would be blocked to the same or similar degree as he.

    – The surest way to let progressive values wither in the political environment is to fail to vote for them. Even if Bernies plans are all blocked and nothing much changes, he still succeeds in shifting the Overton window. The unelectable becomes electable, and maybe people will stop compromising on their values in future elections.

    P.S.
    Regarding electability, I am glad you struck it off the list because I can’t stand those sorts of arguments – how many people compromised on their vote because they thought their ideal candidate had little support? And how much of that support was reduced because people compromised on their vote? Electability arguments are thus a self-perpetuating cycle that benefits only the current mainstream.

  23. 23

    OH! and I forgot to mention: if Hillary became the primary Democrat, she would get my vote (if I had one). No matter how far behind Bernie she might be, she is streets ahead of the lunacy of the Republican pool. Those that refuse to vote at the general election simply because their preference didn’t win the primary are another reason why American politics shifts at such a glacial pace.

  24. 24

    Dusting off this old account to ask a small but pertinent question of #19:

    “When Bernie is asked, “What will the quantitative impacts of [plan] be on [measurable thing],” he doesn’t have any idea and answers with a repetition of his hopes and dreams instead. When Hillary is asked the same, she has and shares knowledge of real impacts with citations ready. Hillary is deliberate, analytical, and thoroughly prepared in everything she does.

    She and Bernie share practically all ideologies, but there are Democrats in congress that aren’t swayed by rhetoric alone, and Hillary is the one with the chops to substantively educate representatives on details, logical reasons, quantitative impacts, connections to other policies, global context, and strategy.”

    Do you have any further evidence to support this? Because I don’t think that you can equate the pitches made to the electorate to the pitches made on the voting floor and in the Senate lounge; those are different audiences requiring different approaches. This sounds like something that requires delving into the record rather than just relying on statements made to the media; after all, how well a parliamentarian works with their colleagues is usually measured by the success they have in getting bills or amendments passed, not how well they pitch policy to the electorate during their campaign.

  25. 25

    This is a debate that has left me internally conflicted. On the one hand (let’s call it the left one), Bernie’s ideologies seem more inline with mine own, but then on the other (the right), I think that Hillary may be the more effective. Back on the left hand, if Bernie is elected, he may just shake up the system enough to catalyze some much needed change; which would hopefully start us down a road off and away from the hilarious two party system that we’ve grown accustomed too. But again on the right, Hillary’s resume almost makes her seems overqualified: as according to her website, she’s been a “secretary of state, senator from New York, first lady of the United States, first lady of Arkansas, a practicing lawyer and law professor, activist, and volunteer,” so I have no doubts that she is a masterclass player of local and global Politick. Back again on the left, I’m worried that Bernie only seems so attractive because he seems the more “pure” of the two, and that’s a mighty powerful allure. But then one last time on the right, I’m afraid that Hillary may simply be status quo, just another career politician that won’t shake up the system to any meaningful degree.

    I still have no idea for which candidate I will cast my lot, that still seems as mercurial as the wind, but either way I have a recurring nightmare that they will split the vote and we’ll end up with a 50:25:25 Republican victory; which, if that should come to pass, it seems that that Justin Trudeau character is doing good things.

  26. 26

    I feel either candidate would make an acceptable president. I feel neither candidate will be able to pass their agenda without a change in Congressional control. As such, I feel that the congressional races are more important than the primary, or which Democrat is nominated for President.

    That said, Sanders is espousing far more actions and positions in line with where I’d like to go.

    I don’t care about health insurance; I care about health care, and feel that pre-Obamacare system was highly dysfunctional with too much power given to middle-men — insurance companies and employers. Obamacare didn’t change the structural problems, but did fix some egregiously bad areas of abuse (variable coverage, pre-existing conditions, etc). Clinton would keep Obamacare much the same, while patching some more problems. Sanders is promoting single-payer, and has articulated plans for how it would succeed. As such, this is a mark in the Sanders column.

    I don’t like the size of our military or the endless wars. I feel the best thing we can do for our troops is to bring them home. I feel that Bernie has a stronger anti-war/pacifist history than Hillary does. Her hands-on experience as Secretary of State gives her a boost when it comes to foreign affairs, but I feels she’s more willing to use military force than he is. I feel his experience in the Senate supporting veterans speaks well to the policies he would push as President.

    Sanders is more aggressive, in my opinion, in dealing with issues of income/wealth inequality. Economic justice is a major part of his agenda. While under his stated plans, I would likely benefit from his tax plans (assuming my employer gives me their health insurance savings, rather than pocketing it), I feel OK in paying higher taxes for increased services and a stronger social net. I am not impressed with Clinton’s proposals regarding economic justice.

    John Kerry was tarred by Republicans with the label of flip-flopper, despite his claims that he changed his positions based on new evidence, rather than hold onto them ignoring evidence. Democrats supported him, and his claim of learning from evidence. We are now faced with two Democratic candidates, one praised for his long-held, unwavering position on the issues, the other scorned for her apparent shifting with the political winds. I feel it’s hypocritical to say that Kerry was good for learning from mistakes, but Clinton is bad for the same reasons. At the same time, it feels like Clinton has had too many “learning opportunities” leading her to change positions. She was for TPP, but then against it, she was for the authorization of force in Iraq, but now regrets it, etc.

  27. 27

    davidsmith is in comment moderation. Any future comments will have to be approved before being posted.

    davidsmith, to answer your question at #19: A discussion of Clinton’s honesty or lack thereof is more than valid here. But more than one specific turn of phrase crossed the line from valid discussion of honesty into invective, heated rhetoric, and not assuming good faith on the part of people who disagree with you. “turns my stomach,” “Will you shrug and say its not your fault? Its not your responsibility?” “don’t try to pretend a vote for Hillary isn’t a vote for more endless war you are all too intelligent for that,” “Can anyone honestly say that Hillary is an honest person trying honestly to do good?”, “even if she didn’t have an expansive history of corruption and was a perfect little angel.”

    I do not have time for this. If you can’t respect my conversational boundaries, please take your conversation elsewhere. There is a place for the kind of rhetoric you’re using, but this is not that place.

  28. 28

    The most persuasive big-picture argument I’ve seen for Clinton: Sanders is not good at management, compromise, organization, or getting along with people generally. If Sanders is elected, he’ll be a bad President and will be unable to effect the changes he’s promising.

    I think the easiest way for me to vouch for Sanders would be to directly address this argument.

    Sanders actually has a lot at his disposal when it comes to efficacy. He’s proven to be an “Amendment King” and getting progressive proposals through. As an independent, he built bizarre coalitions for the specific issues he was dealing with at the time. So I am confident he can play the political game pretty well.

    Also, I think Sanders is far more tenacious when it comes to using Public Opinion as a weapon, as he has done in his campaign. Nearly all of Sanders’ positions is popular. We all see this disappointing pattern in democrats when they back down from popular proposals. Obama has done it many times, and I suspect we’ll see the same from Clinton. The reality is that Public Opinion is one of the most effective weapons nationally and should be wielded like a club. If the opponent wants to oppose you, you make them clearly state that they are unpopular and suffer in elections. Sanders generally cuts to the point and doesn’t let anyone muddy the waters on issues. For this reason, I think Sanders would be far more effective at pushing progressive policies.

    Lastly, I believe the number one issue in this country is money in politics. I say that only because it affects every other issue. Sanders has made this one of his main platforms. Sanders having a 4-year national stage to push against corruption in all of its myriad of forms would dramatically alter the course of this country for the better. I’m sure Clinton would win progressive battles here and there, but progressives will never win the greater war until we make corruption a top priority.

  29. 29

    My impressions:

    Hillary seems better on foreign policy knowledge, on the ability to put together capable political teams, and on executive experience. She is also, in my opinion, massively more of a proven political battle commander. Bernie may be able to take all the shit she has, but he has had zero chances to prove it, and that worries me. While Bernie is generally more left politically, I believe Hillary is better on autism than Bernie is.

    Also, I think that having a woman in office would make it that much easier for women to end up in positions of power both in and out of government. I think that this would be good for gender equality and for the effectiveness of every team in every company and every government organization that ends up more gender-diverse and correspondingly more effective as a result.

    Bernie’s politics seem better on the whole. His response to BLM protesters seems better, and that speaks well of his ability to listen. His campaign’s response to the data breach and to being questioned about foreign policy both make me incredibly nervous about his ability to be as capable a political tactician as Hillary (and to organize teams of capable people — being good at listening is more of an asset if you’ve put together a group of people worth listening to).

    In some ways, I just don’t know what to expect of Bernie in office. He presents an uncompromising persona, but seems to clearly have the capacity to compromise based on his record, which is partly good and partly, well, his record on gun control. His record on gun control in particular seems to me to clash with a campaign persona so built around not compromising political values. I’m not sure what to make of that.

    I find it incredibly cathartic to have someone saying to Republicans “No, fuck you, your ideas are shit and here’s why”, as he seems, in nicer words, to be able to do effectively. But that being cathartic for me doesn’t mean he’s likely to get stuff done. Though it does mean he has an ability to move the political conversation leftward in a way that might be good as president.

    I also think the statement a Bernie victory would make against money in politics would be fantastic. Though the fact that he’s not fundraising at all for other races makes me worry that his utter dismissal of it would doom his presidency to ineffectiveness against a congress whose left-ness he has failed to support.

    Overall, I think if Bernie can deliver even significant parts of what he promises, he’d be a better president than Hillary. If he can’t, though, I think the consequences of his failure to do so could be politically catastrophic for the left.

    I’m leaning Hillary at this point, but not fully decided.

  30. 30

    One of the arguments I hear against Bernie is that he can’t possibly make good on his promises. And to some extent I agree. We’re not going to have free college and a 90% tax on billionaires in 4 years or 8 years.

    But he’s shifting the argument to the left. His 90% tax stance vs more tax cuts will move the dial much further than arguing for lower interest student loans will. He’s already moved the dial. Hillary has been adopting more progressive positions.

    I’m behind Bernie. And I’ll absolutely support Hillary if she’s the nominee.

  31. 31

    Oh I have So. Many. Words. about this… but I’ll keep it short.

    When this started, I desperately wanted Elizabeth Warren to run. She, honestly, is my dream president, even while allowing for the fact that, speaking practically, she can do more in Congress. So when she opted out of running, I was heartbroken… and chose Bernie Sanders, because he was closest to Warren politically and he was running.

    Now?

    I am an avid listener of shows like “This Week in Blackness” and “The Black Guy Who Tips” (if you don’t watch and/or listen to them, you are seriously missing out). And I trust especially TWiB when it comes to political and social matters. They have been covering Black Lives Matter for a long time, and they were there (running the conference, in fact) when Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders failed spectacularly to address BLM protesters at Netroots. They covered and in fact had an extensive interview with the woman behind the BLM protest in Seattle that disrupted (and ended) Sanders’s rally.

    They also covered when Hillary Clinton’s confrontation came, and she failed, as well.

    To me, the issue of black people being murdered (yes I said murdered) in the streets by cops is an issue RIGHT NOW. It cannot be fixed by raising the minimum wage or breaking up the big banks or ending student loans or giving the country universal health care… a wealthy black person is still black, and can still be murdered by a racist cop. Sandra Band was upwardly mobile, after all.

    I largely side with Sanders, yes. Politically, I like him better than Clinton. Problem is, Sanders is a one-issue president. And I’m not saying his one issue isn’t important (it’s extremely important), but you can’t be president on the back of one single issue. It just doesn’t work like that. Raising the minimum wage won’t solve our problem with guns, it won’t solve our problems with education and scientific understanding in the country, it’s not a backbone for a good foreign policy… Sanders manages to turn every single question he is ever asked into a discussion about the economy. You could ask him how much he enjoyed that roast beef sandwich he had for lunch, and he’d find a way to pivot his answer to he economy. Whenever anybody asks him about black lives, and what he would do to deal with the issue of racism amongst the police and the fact that they murder black people in the streets for literally no reason, he talks on and on about raising the minimum wage and creating jobs… which have absolutely nothing to do with a question about racist police murdering black people.

    I watched Anderson Cooper ask Sanders about his faith. A lousy question, to be fair, but the fact that Sanders even turned that question into an economic one is just…

    Then there is the problem of obstruction. I notice a lot of people here talking about their disappointment with President Obama, but it seems that people forget the unprecedented levels of obstruction he faced from Day 1 in office, throughout both of his terms. President Obama has easily faced a level of obstruction no president has ever faced in the history of the US Presidency. Of course, neither Sanders nor Clinton will face anything like it for one simple reason: they’re white.

    However, they would both face ridiculous amounts of obstruction, still unprecedented (with only President Obama having faced more), because of the state of the Republican party today. And I am unconvinced that Sanders will handle that obstruction well at all. In fact, I’m quite afraid that Congress would force Sanders to hedge bets and end up not delivering on these promises, and everyone who’s “Feeling the Bern” will turn on him just like we turned on President Obama in 2010 (when, again, most of it was not his fault), and then Congress will swing Republican again, and then this whole campaign will have meant nothing.

    Now I’m not talking about who I plan on voting for. I know who I’m voting for, and frankly, no, you won’t be able to guess by reading this post… in fact, if you try, you’ll probably get it wrong.

    However… I want Bernie Sanders to start laying down his plan. Not these sky-high promises, but actual concrete data and numbers and timetables and dates, just like Hillary Clinton is doing. I don’t just want to hear Sanders’s promises; I want to hear exactly how he plans on keeping those promises… and, from both of them, I want to hear how they plan on dealing with Congress and Conservative states all across the country.

    Also, I want both of them to go on This Week in Blackness. Elon James White has invited them both, and there is actually some indication of interest from Clinton’s campaign (while he’s heard nothing at all from Sanders’s). Hearing what they both have to say to Elon James White, Imani Gandy, and Aaron Rand Freeman may sway my vote.

  32. 32

    For me, it fundamentally comes down to competence/policy knowledge. Sec Clinton is quite possibly the most qualified candidate for presidency in generations. Her breadth and depth of policy knowledge is unrivaled by any current candidate. Even if I disagree with her position on a topic, I know that her position is well considered and thought out. Also, some of the votes that are held against her were done to achieve some larger goal. For example, the bankruptcy bill was going to get through with or without her vote. However, she managed to leverage her vote for that bill into getting child support payments protected from bankruptcy court.

    By contrast, I have yet to see evidence that Sanders deeply understands any policy issues deeply. Even in his putative wheelhouse, bank regulation, he is prone to claiming statutory authority he wouldn’t have as president. If he was strong on some policy areas but weak on others, I could be persuaded that he would hire strong advisors, but I haven’t seen a single policy area where he hasn’t made either false claims or wild exaggerations. Temperamentally, he seems to lash out against people and groups who are allies on most topics whenever they disagree with him. Calling Planned Parenthood part of ‘the establishment’ because they endorsed Sec. Clinton is ridiculous. Similarly, while the Council of Economic Advisor Chairs letter was perhaps too strongly worded, Sanders’s campaign wrote off a number of economists who have done a lot of good for people as corrupt.

    I spent years joking that I wanted to move to Vermont just to vote for Sanders. I still think having his voice around to move the Overton window is a very valuable thing. However, I’ve seen no evidence that he is remotely qualified to be president.

  33. 33

    Back when I thought I was a conservative and voted for Ronald Reagan, Bernie Sanders was promoting the values I hold now. His record is better by far than mine. And in that same respect, better than Hillary’s. And yet, since I can change, I have to believe it is possible she has too.

    God I wish I knew which one was electable. This election is scaring the hell out of me. Voting the idealistic choice has burned me before.

    I am voting for Sanders in the primary.

  34. 34

    Whichever Democrat wins will be, essentially, a lame duck from day one. There is a good chance Democrats will gain a slim majority in the Senate but absolutely no chance of even the barest of majorities in the House. Without at least a majority in the house the GOP just has to say no and nothing, no law or budgets, can pass. The president will be limited to executive orders and the Bully pulpit.

    The argument against this is that there will be such a Democratic wave that GOP congressmen will be compelled to go along. I suggest that those making this claim look at historic situations, like Jeb in Florida dealing with the Terri Schiavo case. The vast majority of Floridians wanted him to let her go but, to build his reputation for party loyalty, to gain favor with funders, and advertise his stiff spine and manly determination, he refused and went against the vast majority of his constituency. Saying no is what they do.

    The end result is that when making the call you have to figure which candidate will most gracefully deal with obduracy and disappointment and which will cause the least blow-back against the progressive cause when northing substantive gets done.

    In both cases Hillary seems to me the be the best choice. She has had over thirty years of grinding it out against entrenched GOP resistance and an absolute shit storm of slanders and lies. Sanders, fine man he is, is going to be hard pressed to keep from blowing up.

    The second case also favors Clinton according to Prospect Theory. In essence Prospect says that if there is a chance of gaining more you feel more disappointment than if there is no chance of gaining more.

    Situation: There are two servers at an ice cream shop. One has a red shirt, the other a blue shirt. In both cases you pay a quarter for an ice cream cone. The red shirt server always gives you one scoop of ice cream for a quarter. The blue shirt server will always give you at least one scoop for your quarter but sometimes, at random, you might get two scoops.

    Prospect theory says that if you go to the blue shirt server and only get one scoop you are going to be far more disappointed than if you go to the red shirt server and, as expected, get one scoop. This is one of those quirks of the human mind. Economic theory says that either way you get one scoop and you should be equally satisfied, but we don’t.

    How does this figure for a comparison of Bernie to Hillary? Simple, neither one is going to be able to deliver much of anything. But because Bernie is offering more any failure to deliver is going to sting more. Hillary, offering less, is going to sting less. It is a matter of control over expectations.

    Besides, with Clinton you start day one, and ultimately finish, with one major accomplishment that a hostile congress can’t deny no matter how hard they try, Progressives will have raised a woman into the highest office. Even if no laws get passed and we face a perpetual budget crisis for the entire four years of her administration; it will be a historic accomplishment and a worthy goal in and of itself.

    This is not the year for long bombs and a showboat strategy. If there was any expectation of a strong majority in the senate, and even a bare majority on the House it would be time to go big and get as many wins on the board as we can in the shortest time possible.

    This is not that time. This is a time to trim our sails, batten down the hatches, and prepare for a tough four years to come. We are sailing toward the dawn but it is going to take four years to get there.

    The GOP is going to lose its base over time because of demographic and cyclical political forces. But they are going to go down kicking and screaming and while prospects look good for 2020 we have to get through at least four years of last gasp histrionics and death-rattle thrashing as they slowly shrink from being rulers, to being footnotes.

    Being drama queens I expect it might look something like this:

  35. 36

    Sanders, for a number of reasons, but probably the one that is foremost in my mind is the money-from-banks issue.

    I consider these banks, buying politics and politicians, fleecing the middle class and the poor, avoiding taxes, amassing their vast wealth, as thieves of the highest order. Society destroying level thieves. And one of the things they do with this money (which is actually the blood, sweat, and tears of the disenfranchised and vulnerable), is turn around and spend some of these ill-gotten gains to further lube the system to further enrich themselves.

    The fact that millions – MILLIONS – of these blood and tear soaked, fleeced dollars, taken from the struggling, the sick, the poor… millions of these dollars have been directly deposited into Clinton’s pocket. For “speeches”. At 250k+ a pop. Fleeced from the public and then put into – not into the campaign of, which would be bad enough, but into Clinton’s personal bank account.

    How anyone could justify this is beyond me, when there is another candidate who has never and, I am quite certain, would never, take that blood money. I’d be one thing if it was taken and then donated to planned parenthood or something. I’d probably even applaud it as literal redistribution.

    As far as I’m aware though, that isn’t the case. It was taken, and pocketed.

    Just – ugh. Gross.

    No.

  36. 38

    Lorn,

    Your decription of prospect theory seems fishy to me. It directly contradicts the variable reward schedule that drives much of animal traoning, including people. Acording to the theory, following a variable reward schedule will result in much greater loyalty to the blue shirt server.

  37. 39

    [I am a Sanders fan, and I agree with him more than with Clinton, the major exceptions being guns and GMO — I’m anti-gun and anti-labeling.]

    Both Clinton and Sanders are substantially to the left of Democrats in general. The #1 task the new President will face is uniting the Dems enough to push through key legislation and, even more importantly, prevent the Republicans from overriding the presidential veto. And Clinton is better at it, as evidenced by her superdelegate count.

    This, however, does not mean people should stop campaigning for Sanders. Dem debates are good for Dems — they provide extra publicity for the candidates and extra political/economic education for the voters. Democratic policies are hugely popular and Republican policies are hugely unpopular, that’s a fact. More publicity = more people voting Democrat.

    Finally, my above comparison suffers from an “all else being equal” issue. A straightforward Sanders victory would (obviously) mean “all else” is not equal and the political situation is *better* than what I think it is. The Dem primaries are in this sense a scientific experiment: if people vote their conscience, whoever wins will be thus identified as the better candidate of the two.

  38. 40

    As a long-term progressive with radically antiwar sentiments, I see a clear choice here. Clinton started her political activism the same time I did: In ’64 she was a “Goldwater girl” – the same Goldwater who wanted to nuke North Vietnam – while I was on Johnson’s side (before he expanded the war.) Clinton’s record on “defense” and American war-making is clear: as First Lady she supported Bill Clinton’s five wars, as Senator she consistently supported all military spending and all wars and NDAA’s, and as Sec’y of State, she was on record as being on the hawkish side of Obama, supporting his “kill list” and drone program. On other issues, she has been, and continues to be, anything but a progressive. As First Lady, she supported Bill Clinton’s draconian cutbacks of the “safety net” and his dismantling of Glass-Steagle. She consistently supported the Patriot Acts in the Senate, and she openly opposes a national healthcare system. She may call herself a progressive, but with a few exceptions (such as abortion rights,) she’s aligned more closely with pro-big-bank, pro-military-industrial-complex, pro-war forces. If I were a rich, hawkish conservative, she’d be my candidate, based on her record. Sanders, while not perfect, is much more closely aligned with my progressive, anti-war views.

  39. 41

    full disclosure: senator sanders is my senator. until he started running for president, he did his own shopping, flew coach, and traveled without a security detail.you KNOW he never got a $600 haircut. he has been cranking away at the same issues since before i was born, and those issues are more relevant now than ever.

    i think his consistency in these things is worth noting: secretary clinton will say anything, and be anyone to whatever group she is asking for votes. i don’t trust her as far as i can throw her while i am sitting on her with a piano in my lap.

    i’m disappointed in her, because long before her first run for president, i was looking for a good liberal woman who might actually make a FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT EVER WOOOHOOOO! but the more i looked at her record, the more my heart broke. she is too recently in favor of civil rights for gays (now that it’s popular), too much in favor of the wars, too much in favor of domestic surveillance, and too happy with the fraudulent banking system that caused the crash.

    she is too much in bed with the same big money interests that undermine the will of the people and strip the value from workers, lands, and businesses. secretary clinton is too much involved in the transfer of wealth from most of us into the pockets of the wealthy few.

    sure, she has the political chops to get stuff done, but she is part of the problem.

    senator sanders has a long history of quietly getting stuff done while everybody around him is too busy flinging poo. when people tell you he can’t stuff passed, just look up his record. he is one of the all time leaders of getting amendments passed in the house, and party affiliations be damned.

  40. 42

    It’s a tough call for me in the primaries, and a no-brainer in the general.

    I like Sanders a lot, but he’s far too idealistic. They’re good ideals, but they’re unrealistic in our political climate. If he’s elected, he’ll face the same inevitable stonewalling as Obama, if not more. And a third term of disillusionment will give the Republicans even more narrative power (look at how bad things have been under the Dems, even though it’s our fault!). And a transition to single-payer, even if it were politically possible (it’s not), is not going to be an easy one. It’ll be a bumpy transition and the Republicans would use any and every bump along the way to convince people that it’s a horrible mistake and needs to be reversed. Single-payer needs to wait until people are both ready to accept it and fully aware that it’s not going to be puppies and rainbows.

    Clinton is first and foremost a politician. She’s qualified for the presidency, to be sure, far moreso than any of the Repubs. But she’s largely in this for the prestige and power, at least that’s how she appears to me. Sanders feels more like he wants to position to make a difference. Clinton feels like she wants the position because she’s ambitious. On the other hand, Clinton knows the game better and she seems far more realistic about what can and can’t be done. She’s not trying to set the highly idealistic expectations that Sanders is setting, and that realism would make for both a smoother presidency and a better legacy. Legacies matter, because they shape how the party is seen for decades after a president leaves office.

    Either way, Bernie has made a difference in this race simply by being in it. If Clinton had gone completely unopposed, she probably would have kept her rhetoric more to the center, but Bernie has helped drive the Democratic narrative to the left, and that alone helps tremendously. The Republicans have dragged the narrative far to the right, and it badly needs a shift back the other way. All told I will probably vote for Bernie in the primaries, but I would vote for either of them in the general.

  41. 43

    The fact that millions – MILLIONS – of these blood and tear soaked, fleeced dollars, taken from the struggling, the sick, the poor… millions of these dollars have been directly deposited into Clinton’s pocket. For “speeches”. At 250k+ a pop. Fleeced from the public and then put into – not into the campaign of, which would be bad enough, but into Clinton’s personal bank account.

    How anyone could justify this is beyond me, when there is another candidate who has never and, I am quite certain, would never, take that blood money. I’d be one thing if it was taken and then donated to planned parenthood or something. I’d probably even applaud it as literal redistribution.

    As far as I’m aware though, that isn’t the case. It was taken, and pocketed.

    Just – ugh. Gross.

    tkreacher @ #36: I stated very clearly in the comment policy for this post that I did not want invective or heated rhetoric, and that all comments here should be based on an assumption of good faith on the part of people who disagree and an understanding and respect of why some people would make a different choice. If you can’t participate in this discussion without respecting those boundaries, please don’t participate. There is a place for invective and heated rhetoric in political discourse, but this comment thread is not that place. This is your one warning: any further violations will get you put into comment moderation or blocked. Thank you.

  42. 44

    If I were a rich, hawkish conservative, she’d be my candidate

    Ray Smith @ #40: That’s pushing it on the comment guidelines. Please make your case without impugning people who disagree. Again: There is a place for invective and heated rhetoric in political discourse, but this comment thread is not that place. Thanks.

  43. 46

    To clarify my position a bit, since something came up and I had to bang that last paragraph out quicker than I’d have liked.

    I think Clinton would be better at wielding the position than Bernie, but Bernie would try to use the position for better things than Clinton. Realism vs optimism. But my choice is a little easier because of where I live. I live in a state that’s basically a shoe-in for Clinton. If I lived in a state with a closer race, I’d have a harder decision to make. Since Clinton’s going to win this one anyway, I’d rather vote for Bernie to help contribute to a leftward shift in narrative, and help the numbers that will show that you don’t have to be an establishment candidate to make a competitive campaign (another thing this race has been good for).

  44. 47

    Sorry! I totally skimmed and missed important information there. Ugh. That said, I have nothing to contribute.

    Great American Satan @ #35: Thanks. Apology accepted. And thanks for deciding to opt out of the conversation since you couldn’t contribute to it within the conversational boundaries. That is an entirely reasonable choice, and it’s one I wish more people would make more often. Much appreciated.

  45. 48

    -pops in again to respond to #34-

    “There is a good chance Democrats will gain a slim majority in the Senate but absolutely no chance of even the barest of majorities in the House.”

    May I submit that this defeatist attitude is a large factor in -why- the Dems won’t win the House in the foreseeable future? I don’t live in the US*, but my red-state friends and acquaintances increasingly report feeling abandoned by the state-level Dems who insist on continually running centre-right candidates to try and capture Republican voters. Some are even registered Republicans now because they have no Democratic option (because the party succumbs to the trope where “independents” always ideologically sit between the hard-right GOP and inevitably centre-right Dem candidates, never to the left of both, and is thus slow to support progressives outside of safe seats) and their state runs closed primaries, leaving them with no other way to cast a meaningful ballot.

    And, well…you can’t win if you refuse to try on the basis that you won’t win. In terms of maintaining a party, this mindset creates a death spiral as the party loses support and donations from progressives in conservative areas, causing an increased focus on donor-rich progressive areas and pandering to conservatives under the false assumption that progressives just don’t exist anymore in conservative areas, or if they do they will just flock to support anyone waving a blue flag (rather than, perhaps, say “meh I’m staying home/voting Green” because the blue candidate doesn’t sound significantly less horrible than the red one).

    * – …but the social-democratic party I’m a member of here in Canada is in a death spiral very similar to the one I just described: running on caution and pandering to conservatives while assuming that leftists will simply obey marching orders on election day, rather than giving leftists a goddamned reason to come out and support us on election day because that would mean taking heat from conservatives. And this is hurting at the local level; we’re having a hard time getting people to come out to necessary things like the annual general meeting!

  46. 49

    I favor Clinton over Sanders in the primary, but I will vote unreservedly for either in the general election.

    My take on Sanders is largely shaped by Paul Krugman’s blog. Essentially, Sanders dreams big, but he will have no opportunity to achieve those dreams, and even if he had the power, his numbers don’t add up.

    The premise of his campaign is that most Americans are secretly socialists, and if a socialist candidate comes out strongly for socialism, Americans will rise up in support and elect a Congress which will pass his policies. Now, I have socialist tendencies, and in general all Democratic candidates and office holders are more conservative than I would like. But I have no illusions that this is true for the country as a whole.

    My concern is that Sanders could be elected President without sufficiently changing Congress. His rhetoric does not give me confidence that he would effectively advance Democratic policies in that context. If anything, I expect it would make the current government gridlock worse. He might claim that continued gridlock will lead to voters changing Congress. Until then, he wouldn’t actually be getting anything done.

    As a follow up on that, I am very concerned by the comments from Krugman and others about Sanders’ economic numbers not adding up. One of the selling points of the Democratic Party over the Republicans is a commitment to reality. At least as long as I’ve been politically aware, since Reagan, Republican Presidents, candidates, and members of the House and Senate have routinely made up economic, political, and scientific claims. Republican Party operations seem indifferent to the truth.

    Until now I have been able to claim that the Democratic Party responds to reality. When a Democratic candidate puts forward implausible economic numbers, as Sanders apparently has done, I no longer feel that I can make that claim. This is not something I will give up willingly.

    I feel I should also speak in support of Clinton, at risk of running too long. Hillary Clinton has a long track record of being the target of outspoken criticism when she is seeking a political position, followed by substantial popularity in that position. I have no reason to doubt that this will continue to happen. Most fears about her as President will be overblown. Her popularity as President will be as high as could be hoped for, given the current adversarial position of the Republican Party.

    The differences in the policy positions between Clinton and Sanders are not large. But one difference which is likely to matter is that Clinton has a track record of actions to support the rights of women and children. While she has not always been perfect on issues of concern to LBGTQ people and people of color (and what politician is), she has placed these issues in the foreground of her campaign and adopted intersectional language. I expect that she will take more and better actions on these fronts as President than Sanders would.

    And let’s face it: while I wouldn’t vote for a candidate just because she’s a woman, I’m pretty excited by the opportunity to vote for woman as President, when her political views align with mine. Just like voting for Barack Obama because he was a Democrat was also more exciting because he was a black man.

    I look forward to voting for either Clinton or Sanders in the general election. The differences between them are small, and the difference between either one and any Republican candidate is large. But in the primary, I tilt away from Sanders and toward Clinton.

  47. 50

    Setár,

    There are structural reasons why Democrats are unlikely to take a majority in the House. Because of the way that House seats are apportioned to the states, low population states are overrepresented in the House. And residents of low population states are more likely to be Republicans. This is even more true in the Senate, where every state gets two Senators regardless of population. But the facts that every state has a minimum of one Representative in the House and that the total number of Representatives is capped at 435 mean that the House has also has a built in bias.

    Beyond that, in each state, the Congressional districts are determined by the states. In 2010, Republicans had strong wins in state elections. And so in many states, the districts were redrawn to maximize the number of districts with a small Republican majority while creating a minimal number of districts with overwhelming Democratic majorities.

    As a result, in 2012 voters favored Democrats over Republicnas. Nationally, 58.2 million people voted for Republican candidates for the House, while 59.6 million people voted for Democrats. In spite of that, the Republican Party took control of the House, with 234 seats to the Democrats 201. In 2014, Republican candidates took a clean majority of votes and ended up with a larger majority of Representatives.

    The next opportunity to change this jerrymandering is in the state level elections in 2020. The governors and state legislatures elected or holding office at that time will control the redistricting following the 2020 national census. But in the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections, the Republicans are likely to control the House even if Democratic candidates get a majority of votes nationally.

  48. 51

    jacobletoile @38:
    “Your decription of prospect theory seems fishy to me. It directly contradicts the variable reward schedule that drives much of animal traoning, including people. Acording to the theory, following a variable reward schedule will result in much greater loyalty to the blue shirt server.”

    A fair enough criticism and well stated but the two aspects of variable rewards are addressing slightly different conditions. Variable and intermittent rewards do indeed lead to something resembling obsession with the pigeon or rat going nuts pushing the bar to get a bit of food.

    The difference is that the prospect theory references variable reward in a single instance and the disappointment of not getting the greater reward. The benefit gained by the progressive community from the election of this or that candidate to the presidency is pretty much a one-shot deal.

    If it could be repeated multiple times with a variable reinforcement regime you are entirely correct that the result would likely be a increased loyalty and an obsessive repetition of the triggering behavior in an attempt to gain the reward. I doubt even two repetitions, two four year terms, is enough to get into that sort of response. As I remember it takes some greater number of repetitions to lock in the behavior.

    Prospect theory establishes that in a single event prior knowledge of the the variable reward is enough to trigger feelings of disappointment if the increased offering is not forthcoming. This extra negative emotional content after a single event is what might be thought of as the driving force behind the obsession after many repetitions.

  49. 52

    I’m for Hillary, because I believe that she understands that the current Democratic Party in the United States is a coalition of separate groups, each of which have their own interests that are not entirely aligned, and that she is attempting to lead that fractured coalition. I believe that Sanders is running as a Democrat (rather than an Independent) because he sees the opportunity to use that existing coalition to focus on his particular issue of income inequality. Which is a huge and important issue that should be part of any liberal/progressive platform. But I think that Sanders is willing to sacrifice other liberal/progressive issues to achieve his goals in income inequality.

    For example, I’ve wondered if Sanders is purposefully trying to stay focused on the economy and avoid discussions of civil rights issues in order to try to make it easier for him to bridge the gap with socially-conservative white voters in the general election. There is a 2013 quote from Sanders to the effect that the Democratic party lost Southern white votes because of too much focus on gay marriage and abortion rights. I think Sanders might be willing to jettison LGBT protections, abortion rights, and support for BLM if he thinks that it would allow him to reach across the aisle to grab more white voters and achieve his economic goals. Look at his sole litmus-test for a Supreme Court justice–willingness to overturn Citizens United. While I think those economic goals are important and should be achieved, I don’t think that is a trade-off that I want made.

  50. 53

    @mrmorse #50:
    “There are structural reasons why Democrats are unlikely to take a majority in the House. Because of the way that House seats are apportioned to the states, low population states are overrepresented in the House. And residents of low population states are more likely to be Republicans.”

    …so there’s no point in even trying to pitch to them?

    Also, just FYI, the entire political universe is not contained in DC. This problem extends downward to the state and local level. And, well…

    “The next opportunity to change this jerrymandering is in the state level elections in 2020.”
    …how do you expect to win those, if you’re not even trying in the areas you need to win?

    Like, this is Organizing 101. You can’t just import your entire apparatus from DC and expect people to troop out and support whatever you say based on focus groups and market research. You need to build an active, visible grassroots that has community connections and is both ready and willing to go out and work for you, people who know the lay of the land and can sell your ideas locally far better than imported heads from Washington can. The Republicans started to do that in the 1970s, it paid off big time, but instead of counter-organizing it’s like you just don’t even want to take the risk. Your general election machine can’t do everything, and your reliance on it not only hands down-ticket victories (and the attendant spoils, such as ability to gerrymander) to the Republicans, it devalues your base and makes them not want to support you.

    If you look at his numbers amongst independents, Bernie Sanders is disproving the trope that all valuable votes lie somewhere between Ronald Reagan and Francisco Franco. The next step is to take that message to the down-ticket races and rebuild from the ground up. But…how can you do that, if you reject the first step out of hand by turning red states into a (rather problematic, if closely examined) monolith and assert that it is plain impossible to win there?

    @heynowheynow #52:
    ” I think Sanders might be willing to jettison LGBT protections, abortion rights, and support for BLM if he thinks that it would allow him to reach across the aisle to grab more white voters and achieve his economic goals.”
    Excuse me? Speaking as a queer trans woman, this is completely counter-factual; Sanders supported such positions even when he was part of a tiny minority doing so in the 1990s. Considering that -both- Clintons only supported marriage equality when that was beyond a politically ‘safe’ position, as well as their well-known support for the Crime Bill, I’d say that this accusation is highly unfair and potentially trying to draw attention away from your own candidate’s well-recorded penchant for sacrificing human rights on the altar of political convenience.

  51. 54

    Greta Christina #43

    There is a place for invective and heated rhetoric in political discourse, but this comment thread is not that place.

    Apologies. Invective flows from me whenever I’m fired up about something, so I’ll just read the thread from here out to play it safe. Heh.

  52. 55

    I realize I used Clinton’s first name, but Sanders last. I believe that I did that out of a sense of support and attachment to Clinton, but it violated the stated policies, and I apologize.

    #53. I stated my opinions. I didn’t accuse Sanders of doing anything and I don’t understand how an opinion as to future actions can be counter-factual. I do not think Sanders’ historic positions on marriage equality are as strong as you describe (I’m queer too, but I don’t see how that is relevant to this discussion).

  53. 56

    Everybody, please remember the comment policy for this post/ comment thread. Dial it back, on both the heated rhetoric aimed at candidates, and the personal accusations aimed at each other. This is not the place. If you can’t respect these conversational boundaries, please take the conversation elsewhere. Thanks.

  54. 57

    To the commenters here questioning Bernie’s commitment to LGBTI communities, watch this from 1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAFlQ6fU4GM
    ——————————————————————————————————
    To properly flesh out my earlier comment, trust* is a serious problem with HRC; and it’s her hawkishness that makes people right around the world nervous.
    The whole Middle East is a gigantic powder keg that could explode at any moment. The US needs to play a very cool hand, otherwise thing can get out of hand very quickly.

    Sanders isn’t a total pacifist, but it’s unlikely that he’ll march half a million troops into Syria; Trump has said that Iraq was a mistake, and the region’s labyrinthine political intrigues don’t seem to interest him. That leaves Clinton as the Candidate Least Likely To Succeed, and price of failure at this stage is immense.

    *I’ve seen it mentioned in a couple of places (not on this blog) that suggestions that HRC is untrustworthy or deceptive is ‘gendered’ criticism. This sort of tomfoolery detracts from serious discussions of gendered insults. Thanks.

  55. 58

    For me it is pretty simple: Clinton has the experience and connections to make her admittedly modest proposals a reality. I think Sanders promises more than he can deliver and has shown a lack of understanding of how things work in the federal government. Clinton has been there and knows better, and therefore to me will make a better president. I don’t have any illusions that anyone is going to govern the way I would prefer in the current political climate, so I’m stuck with who I think can get things done, and that’s Clinton by a mile.

  56. 59

    Thank you for hosting this discussion! It’s been helpful reading through the comments.

    I’ll probably go for Sanders in the primaries and will vote for either in the general.

    I think one thing Sanders’ policies address better than Clinton’s is the understanding that making something universal creates a broad base of support, even if it means you pay a little more money to cover the wealthy who don’t need the policy. For example, one criticism of his universal college plan is that we would be subsidizing the children of the wealthy who don’t need the monetary support. That’s true–but I think Social Security and Medicare are good examples of why we should do it anyway. If something is just for the poor, it’s easy to cut. If it’s seen as a program for everyone, it’s much harder to cut. Plus, the truth is that we’re already subsidizing the children of the wealthy through various 529 plans (the same way we subsidize the wealthy with the mortgage interest deduction).

    That said, I don’t think Sanders does intersectionality analysis very well. It’s fine and good to say that income inequality is a problem, but I think he could be much better at recognizing how, for example, abortion access and racism play into income inequality for different groups. That’s the downside to relying on universal plans.

    Finally, I like that Sanders doesn’t talk about religion much.

  57. 60

    I just re-took the “I Side With” online quiz and I got 96% Senator Sanders and 94% Secretary Clinton.

    Interestingly enough, I also got a 94% for Jill Stein (Green Party). The rest of the survey results weren’t too surprising:

    Kasich 30%
    Trump 20%
    Rubio 13%
    Cruz 13%

    My plan is to vote for Senator Sanders in the Louisiana Primary next Saturday for Overton Window reasons and then vote for the Democratic Party nominee in November 2016.

    I expect that the nominee will be Secretary Clinton (based on polling data for the upcoming Super Tuesday states and other early March states) and European bookie odds. I’m OK with that outcome with the Democratic Party primary process.

    The question I would ask about the 7 June 2016 California Democratic Party Primary is how important will the voting results be for the delegate count and who will be the Democratic nominee. This may already be decided by then.

  58. 61

    The strongest pro-Hillary argument I’ve seen is that she can do a better job of working through Congress with her coalition-building skills. But that relationship between Congress and the White House only works when same-party rule is in play (and thus, when borderline members of your own party need to be herded along). In a confrontational environment (such as we’ve had for most of Obama’s term), it’s better to have the ability to make the GOP’s obstructionism obvious, and I think Bernie would have that affect.

    And yes, I do think Hillary has a strong deficit in sincerity and in confronting the moneymen who continue to try to manipulate things. Will she get my vote if she gets the nom? Oh, hell yes. (Not that it makes much difference–I don’t live in one of the states even close to being in contention.) But I think that Bernie will serve better in the current environment, if only because he’ll continue pushing harder.

  59. 62

    I think either would make fine Presidents, I prefer Sanders because I think he’ll do a better job at things the President has control over: foreign policy, appointments, and executive agency direction.

    Any policy change will have to be driven by executive action; legislative impact will be limited to using the veto pen until 2020 at least. (Digression: unless Trump kills the GOP down-ballot). Sanders is likely to appoint crusaders to run agencies – think e.g. Fed Chair Paul Krugman. I think Clinton would go with more squishy centrist technocrats, which is better than, say, Liberty U grads, but crusaders at Cabinet agencies could do a lot to advance progressive priorities.

    As for Clinton’s relatively-recent support of gay marriage, I don’t hold that against her, as many of her age came around at about the same time.

  60. 63

    I will vote for whichever of Hillary of Bernie gets the nomination.

    I used to say I’d have to be holding my nose to vote for Hillary, but I’m actually finding her much more palatable the more I learn and think about things. I never bought the right-wing propaganda about her, but I had my doubts about her straightforwardness from things that came up during her Senatorial campaigns (I live in her “home” state of New York). Further reflection has led me to see that she’s not any less straightforward than the average politician—a low bar, to be sure.

    Her being a hawk doesn’t work for me too well, and that’s the main reason the feather tilts the scale to Bernie. OTOH, I’m more confident about her ability to work the machinery of governance than I am for Bernie. As others have commented, the GOP will try to block either of them, so it’s important to vote in a Democratic majority in Congress (preferably 60+ in the Senate).

  61. 64

    Maybe this isn’t the place to say it, but I’m gonna say it …

    How about a Clinton-Sanders (most likely scenario) or Sanders-Clinton ticket in 2016?

    Seriously, Democratic Party.  Get on this, stat.

  62. 65

    My opinion doesn’t matter as much because I don’t vote in your country, but here I go nonetheless: according to my available sources, Clinton supports the death penalty, Patriot Act and “workfare” slavery; that alone is enough for me to prefer Bernie over her if possible, even before account the rest of factors.

  63. 66

    I don’t want to be misunderstood: I don’t think that Bernie Sanders is, OVERALL, a science denier. He has publicly decried climate change denial.

    But Bernie Sanders has said some rather troubling things about both GMOs (he’s in favor of mandatory GMO labeling, even though GMO labeling has been exposed as a wedge to get GMOs banned) and medicine (he’s made strange comments about the causes of certain cancers, like uterine cancers.)

    And while I am VERY much in favor of universal healthcare, I am concerned that the ever expanding bubble of what constitutes proper healthcare… acupuncture, reiki, homeopathy, etc… means proponents of universal healthcare will demand that these ineffective, unscientific forms of medicine be included in government-sponsored healthcare.

    So my point is: universal healthcare is in my opinion GREAT, but will the president-to-be be willing to defend science as the basis for medicine and not superstition, quackery and pseudoscience?

    Based on Bernie’s comments and the positions held by many left-of-the-left wing people supporting Sanders who DO hold these unscientific opinions, I’m rather skeptical that Bernie is willing to fight hard to keep pseudoscience out of healthcare. And as someone for whom healthcare is a major voting issue, this matters a lot to me.

  64. 67

    I’m not an American so I don’t get to vote, but so far as I can see the case for Sanders is as follows:

    1: He is actually a much better administrator than Clinton.

    Sanders’ political career basically starts with a very successful time as mayor Burlington, leading to the revitalization of the city. This took some skill as a manager. Clinton as secretary of state? Couldn’t get the IT department to fix the email server. Sure other secretaries of state didn’t do it either, but they aren’t running for president.

    2: Sanders has a history of figuring out how to get things done – with a hostile congress and senate.

    Sanders’ skill at getting amendments passed demonstrates that he can actually work with the other side of the aisle to sneak in legislation that is more liberal. His title as the “amendment king” does actually translate into being able to work with people who would usually be unwilling to work with him. Clinton I think would actually have a harder time, because so much of the Republicans’ rhetoric is invested in making her out to be the ultimate villain that they politically can’t be seen cooperating with her.

    3: He is the more secular candidate and it kind of shows.

    Sanders in his policy set actually specifically addresses non-belief, saying the expression of it should be protected. Clinton, looking at her website, doesn’t appear to have anything specific to say on that issue. If you look at Sanders’ history, it includes several important stands on issues like LGBT rights, whereas Hillary Clinton only really became in favour of gay marriage in 2013.

    I think given the effects of the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act, there needs to be more attention paid to this sort of issue because the Democratic Party can end up making the same mistake twice on that sort of thing.

    4: I think Sanders won’t deliver on his promises – but he will still deliver more.

    While Sanders’ demands are more extreme and thus less likely to be met, I think he would be negotiated down to Clinton’s position, and Clinton would be negotiated down further. I also think it is important that he isn’t running away from the socialist label, it neutralizes one of the most damaging weapons the Republicans deploy against effective governance.

    5: On foreign policy, I think it is a wash

    While Hillary Clinton has far more experience and is more knowledgeable on foreign policy, she appears to have adopted the “US as Superman” stance that has America causing more problems than it solves in a lot of the rest of the world. Sanders doesn’t quite have that same complex, but his trade positions do mean worse options for those of us who aren’t American.

    Personally i think the American market is overrated. Obama tried to force us to stop inspecting your chickens and beef for salmonella with a threat to our trade with America for example. Sanders’ protectionism may hurt, but at least he isn’t using trade to blackmail other countries into doing less to protect public health.

    6: On the corporate links

    Right now there is a hashtag campaign #WTFU, basically calling on YouTube to do something about false copyright claims. As it stands, people can claim they own the rights to a video, claim the monetisation on the video, and then drop their claims within 30 days and keep the money the videos made in that time.

    It is used to harass critics (forcing take downs of negative movie reviews) and it has been used against people who have published 100% original work. Piracy is considered wrong because it is stealing someone’s intellectual property – well that’s what a lot of big entertainment corporations are doing on YouTube.

    This is just one example of the relationship Americans have with big business.

    Right now the US does not need a president who has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to give speeches to Goldman Sachs. It does not need a president who is friendly with big corporate business. The establishment, that cozy relationship between government and big business, needs to be broken in order to achieve some sort of balance and I honestly don’t see Clinton doing that. Sanders might.

  65. 68

    I like all that is written above and maybe have some new things to add. I am a pediatrician who specializes in rare birth defects. It is definitely an obscure field. Interestingly, because by definition all of my patients are disabled I end up with a large proportion of Medicare/Medicaid patients. These are both decent systems overseen by CMS though at a state level end up being bullies regarding patient care. For example in Nevada they have placed a fixed rate at 40% of what insurance reimburses and tell doctors to walk away if they don’t like it. Unfortunately walk away they have and now the entire state is missing this subspecialty.
    I bring this up because Sanders has made ‘Universal Medicare’ a key component of his campaign. I wholeheartedly agree that other nations which have developed a national healthcare system have better outcomes and more efficiency than our own. I don’t agree that this is sufficient evidence that we could convert our system to theirs and achieve comparable results within just a few years. Sander’s plan is missing key details. Would doctors become federal employees as is the case of other countries or would we keep the same billing system? Would the government buy hospitals owned by private corporations or just rent the spaces?
    Those seem like pedantic details but in terms of deciding how much the plan will cost versus how much it will save those are key differences. I am troubled by the fact that his healthcare plan is underfunded by six trillion dollars. That means he doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the subject. This is a huge red flag for me.
    People are jumping on Clinton for how she handled the ‘super predators’ confrontation as a character issue. Though for me misallocating six trillion dollars is a character issue that is just as large. As president you simply can’t make math errors like that. There are too many other important projects that could use that much money instead. Likewise, his response to this criticism has been to simply accuse healthcare experts of corruption or ignore these issues and claim that efficiency will make up the difference.
    Same thing with his commitment to get 600,000 people out of incarceration during his term. This doesn’t make sense as the federal government doesn’t oversee that many individuals and most incarceration even for federal crimes is handled at the state level.
    Sanders almost intentionally doesn’t pick low hanging fruit like the public option or public EMR. These would be achievable even with obstruction in congress and can be affordable small projects which could pay for themselves to make steady progress. He promises so much I just don’t know what he will end up prioritizing.
    Clinton on the other hand has gotten a lot of criticism for her ties to banking and financing. As much as I would love to not vote for any politician who receives financial support from big donors that summarizes almost everyone with a D by their name. Realistically, she has probably been working on this war chest since 2008. At any other time we might have called her campaign well organized though now instead we are holding her to the fire for it. Unfortunately for her, the rules changed just this year because Sanders pulled off the impressive feat of running an independent campaign. I am glad that he did though Clinton’s approach was a lot less risky.
    At the end of the day the new seat vacancy in the Supreme Court if filled by Obama in 2016 or at the beginning of the next term will overturn Citizen United, so finance reform is a smaller priority for me.
    The real downside of Clinton is her personality. She hasn’t found a good message that is friendly yet presidential, sincere yet strong, confident yet humble. If you just had all of her policy in a different person I would frankly love that candidate. For me wanting someone else who is exactly the same means that gender issues are definitely at play here and she is stuck trying to define what it means to be a female candidate. At the end of the day when it comes to fashion and composure we seem to be alright having the wily haired uncle run for president but are holding the aunt to historic gender standards. In a similar manner, if we can’t support this overqualified female candidate now what are the chances that a less qualified one would get the nomination in the future?
    As other commenters have stated Clinton is more ‘status quo and incremental progress’ while Sanders is ‘revolutionary change’. The later is much stronger branding though status quo has been great in a lot of ways. We now have; gay marriage, the expiration of Bush era tax cuts, the ACA, the Paris Climate Accords, ten million more jobs, Iran has stopped enriching uranium, and we have some mild new finance reforms. Clinton would get us eight years of that, probably not more, probably not less.

  66. 69

    I haven’t read all the comments yet. I don’t know if any Vermonters have spoken up here at this point. I am speaking for me. I have lived in Vermont since mid 1993. One of the reasons we moved to Vermont in the first place was the liberal slant of the state. I have been voting =for= Sanders for over 20 years now. I have been watching his record and the proposals he’s made. I am a reasonably well-informed voter in my state. I have watched him reaching across the aisle and getting work done during some of the most divisive times in (recent) history. I have watched him say exactly what he thought for two decades. I have watched him set out to do what he said he would.

    I actually bumped into him once at a graduation ceremony at a university where I worked. He accepted my apology graciously (instead of being a gruff grumpy poop). I have spoken with his staff on various occasions about various issues/problems I hoped to have addressed (he was my rep then my senator, after all). They invariably listened and responded politely. They didn’t always give me the answers I’d hoped for, but they were unfailingly attentive and civil. The boss sets the tone. I’ve witnessed him talking to people and he really sees them. He listens. He isn’t just waiting for his chance to say the next thing. He responds appropriately to what they’re saying because he -hears- them.

    He hasn’t always been successful. No one is. He isn’t perfect, either. He is, however, teachable. He has been representing the interests of a mostly white, rural, hunting populace and he’s learning (perhaps not as rapidly as one might prefer) that it’s not all just about economic justice.

    He lives in a modest dwelling and his net worth is in the 100s of thousands, not the millions. Most of his assets are tied up in his house (like most middle/upper middle class individuals). He is not a millionaire. I am certain that he not only knows where his local grocery store is, but that he has often stopped in to pick up things for his wife when he was out and about. He genuinely cares about the middle class, poor, and vulnerable folks (like the elderly and disabled) because he is one of us. Because he’s a genuinely compassionate person who has seen folks suffering and who wants to alleviate that on a systemic level instead of offering bandages to gaping wounds.

    He does not accept corporate funding, and when it is offered (unsolicited, he never solicits corporate funding), he sends it to a reputable charity instead.

    The entire time he’s been running for president, he has continued to do his actual job of representing Vermont in the Senate. He continues to introduce legislation and participate in votes. After he announced his candidacy, he left immediately to go back into chambers, to keep working at his day job.

    I don’t expect to agree with candidates on every issue. In fact, I usually expect to find a whole lot of fault and compromise where I don’t think there needs to be any (ask me about Leahy and Welch sometime). With Sanders, that doesn’t happen. Nearly everything he’s voted on, he’s voted the way I would have expected him to, how I would have wanted him to. The few things I disagree with him about mostly have to do with gun control and GMOs, and I understand why he votes the way he does on those.

    Honestly, I don’t want to lose him as my senator. I really don’t. We -need- people like him in the Senate. But I will never not vote for Sanders. I don’t always agree with him, but I trust him. I know him. I know he will do what he set out to do because that’s what he’s been doing for the last thirty five years he’s been out there. He is a true public servant.

    I firmly believe that if this election cycle also includes the ouster of a variety of members of congress to be replaced by more democrats, then there won’t be the obstruction that Obama has faced. But even if that doesn’t happen, he’s in a good position for working with the current congress. At least, as good as anyone else. Because they aren’t actually working with anyone.

    As for Clinton. I agree with Robert Reich’s assessment. She’d be a great president for our current system. She is in the right position. She’s intelligent. She’s got funding. She’s well-connected. She’s got a reasonable record on women’s issues. She’s experienced and completely capable. She’s about what I usually expect to see in a candidate. Someone I disagree with on a lot of key issues and who has some troubling votes/actions/statements in their record, but with whom I generally agree on large issues.

    Thing is, our current system is broken. Horrifically broken. Sanders is the president we need to turn the system around and wrest it back from the corporations. Clinton just won’t do that.

    If she wins the nomination, I will vote for her, and I won’t even be holding my nose while I do it. It just means that for there to be a massive change and taking back of control by the people, it’ll be an even harder battle. I still have hope that we will manage it.

  67. 70

    Replying to comment #64
    “How about a Clinton-Sanders (most likely scenario) or Sanders-Clinton ticket in 2016?”

    Sanders-Clinton I could get behind, but Clinton-Sanders, NOOOOOO! Don’t take my senator away from me and tie his hands up and waste his time on the VP position. We need him out there working for us.

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